by Carmen Van Kerckhove
Stephen Duncombe, author of the fantastic book Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, just wrote a piece for The Nation about why progressive activists cannot afford to ignore celebrity. He was kind enough to mention Racialicious in the article:
It’s exactly this sort of gateway that longtime activist Patricia Jerido is trying to build with her progressive networking site, GoLeft.org. Prominently featured on its home page this summer was a curated list of news stories, briefs about an action staged by the NAACP in Detroit, another Republican politician denouncing the war and…Paris Hilton’s jail stint. When I ask, why Paris? Jerido responds, “Because that’s what people are talking about. Republican defections make the news, but Paris in jail makes it into popular culture.”
“We need to be talking about her too,” the founder of GoLeft elaborates, “using her as a starting point to move to the conversation we want to be having about who gets sent to prison and who gets out, about money, wealth and access.” Carmen Van Kerckhove, who runs the website Racialicious.com, calls this sort of thing a “teachable moment”–an approachable opening into larger, thornier issues like the inequities of the criminal justice system. In fact, Van Kerckhove points out, two such moments are opened up when politics and celebrity intersect. The first is the issue itself, and the second is how the mass media handle that issue. Both can be opportunities for political conversation.
Sometime what’s more interesting than the celebrity event itself (e.g., Michael Richards, Don Imus) is how the issue gets played out in the media. The Richards incident started with the racist ravings of a white man, complete with references to lynching, but ended up as a public discussion of why black people keep using the n-word towards each other. The Imus incident started with the racist and misogynist remarks of a white man, but ended up as a public referendum on misogyny in hip hop.
It’s fascinating to me that all roads seem to lead back to discussions of how black people are supposedly oppressing themselves.
I interviewed Duncombe in episode 78 of Addicted to Race. I encourage you to check it out – he’s got some great ideas.
About This BlogRacialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable
Keanu ReevesJohn Cho newsflashes.
Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at email@example.com.
The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.
Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.
Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.
Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.
Follow Us on Twitter!
- lynn1066 on The Walking Dead Roundtable: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- bridgetarlene on The Walking Dead Roundtable: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- etoiledamore on The Walking Dead Roundtable: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- literatebrit on The Racialicious Links Roundup 12.5.13: Black Twitter, Black Academics, Iran, Chicago and Elan Gale
- Matt Pizzuti on The Walking Dead Roundtable: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- The Walking Dead Roundtable: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- Voices: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
- The Racialicious Links Roundup 12.5.13: Black Twitter, Black Academics, Iran, Chicago and Elan Gale
- On Disability and Cartographies of Difference
- A Muslimah’s Guide to Rocking the World
- Quoted: Dr. David Leonard Pens Open Letter to Marissa Alexander
- The Acclaimed Web Series Black Folks Don’t Returns for a Third Season
- Comedian Aamer Rahman Explains “Reverse Racism”
TagsABC activism advertising african-american asian asian-american barack obama black celebrities comedy diversity fashion feminism film gender glbt HBO hip hop hispanic history hollywood identity interracial relationships Kerry Washington latino media mixed race movies music muslim politics race racial stereotypes racism religion Scandal sex sexism sexual stereotypes stereotypes True Blood tv Uncategorized white youtube